Feminist Incognito: The American Working Woman

1224 words - 5 pages

“…By fifteen most girls were introduced to society. At eighteen, they married; by their mid-twenties to thirties they retired from childbearing.” My grandmother, on the other hand, took a train ride at twenty-six and a year after became an independent woman of business supported by her three years in primary school. The trajectory of her life was not an aberration altogether. In fact, it has been pointed out that, “Mexicans were transient laborers first pulled into this country though the railway lines” (Downs et al, pg. 17). And that’s exactly how and why she got to the Juarez-El Paso border region in the sixties. Yet, she stands out from most of the sixties population in urban society in that she was a woman, a widow, an immigrant and the sole source of income for her five children under the age of eight. Her life can be seen through a lens of the course of marriage, immigration and work—all precursors in chasing after ideals of a 20th century feminist woman in a not-so feminist environment.
“After the privations of Depressions and disruptions of war, many people craved the emotional reassurance of early marriage and stable family life” (McArthur et al, pg. 139). The Depression was a time period which affected Americans and Mexicans alike. My grandmother remembers a time when, “jobs were scare,” and the population of 400 of rural El Remolino, Juchipila (her hometown) faced grim results in the agriculture industry.
In line with rural tradition and the oncoming trend of marrying at a younger age, she married at the age of eighteen. At first, her life consisted of caring for her family, household chores and occasionally administering and working at her family’s business, a local convenience store (still in business today). Things changed, however, when her husband passed away due to a brain tumor.
After her husband’s demise, she lost her principal role as a woman, that of being, “the perfect wife and mother, supported by her husband” (McArthur et al, pg. 139). She was left with very little choices, living in an antifeminist sector, with which to keep on living. In an ideal setting she would have three choices by level of increasing effectiveness: live by the support of her parents and the economy of her rural hometown, remarry and reestablish a home for her children or immigrate to the U.S. and work in agriculture like her siblings. This is when her first encounter with feminism began.
“Women in small towns had limited options for making a living” (McArthur et al, pg. 3). This automatically discarded her first option of remaining in her hometown. The financial downfall of the sixties affected rural areas throughout Mexico. Tourism and the value of Mexican agricultural work in their native lands declined.
Now here’s where feminism played a role in her life the most. After her husband’s death, she was given a small pension, provided by the teacher’s association. This pension, however, would not last her a lifetime. Remarrying could have,...

Find Another Essay On Feminist Incognito: The American Working Woman

Sally Ride: The First American Woman in Space

1359 words - 6 pages The first American woman in space, Sally Ride, paved the way for many women with aspirations in the field of science. She made great strides in the women’s movement. The women’s movement was a way for women to obtain equal rights. There were three aspects behind the women’s movement: suffrage, the glass ceiling, and feminism. Suffrage is obtaining the right that everyone in America should be granted, the right to vote. The glass ceiling is the

The Pursuit of the American Dream by African Americans, Native Americans, and the Working Class

1672 words - 7 pages groups of people living in America as they pursued comfort in social and economic aspects. The “American Dream” has long been a part of American society and culture. In particular, Native Americans, the working class, and African Americans have all experienced the struggle and accomplishment that comes with the “American dream”. Native Americans faced many struggles in their efforts of achieving the “American Dream.” Shortly after the West became

African American Slavery in America Portrayed in the Aren´t I a Woman and The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas

1678 words - 7 pages The lives of the African slave in America were extremely difficult, and really only had a few things that some would consider a part of a normal life. Many faced hardships such as severe physical, verbal, and sexual abuse. The life of a slave was short and many even wished it to be shorter. White’s Ar’n’t I a Woman and Douglass’ The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass detail the lives of many different slaves and help give perspective

Genderising the Salem Witchhunt (Feminist Piece) - Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum's Salem Possessed and The Devil in the Shape of a Woman by Carol Karlsen

1039 words - 4 pages This paper will discuss and contrast the works of both Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum's Salem Possessed and The Devil in the Shape of a Woman by Carol Karlsen. These papers contrast in their reasoning behind the Salem trials and the subsequent timing of it in 1692. It must be clear that whilst Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum's discuss a whole series of mitigating factors that leads to the trials in Salem the authors do not pay homage to the

Literature - Feminist Criticism and Wonder Woman

835 words - 3 pages Feminist Criticism and Wonder Woman Wonder Woman. To get a better picture of just who Wonder Woman is, I checked out some of her many websites last night and found a surprisingly rich archive. Wonder Woman, in fact, has a complicated, even schizophrenic, heritage. She’s been portrayed by such diverse actors as the perky Cathy Lee Crosby and Lynda Carter, who endowed her with both a competent, working woman aura and a dose of eroticism

Sojourner Truth is an icon of the most American of ideals for her activism in various areas.

621 words - 2 pages slavery. However, Truth was disillusioned by the feminist movement of her time. Her disagreements with the women's rights leadership of her time arose out of differences in their backgrounds and experiences. Most of the women involved in the feminist movement during her time were white, middle-class, educated, and privileged. The program that these feminists demanded failed to help African-American women and poor working women of any color, race, or


1560 words - 6 pages Clyde and Carrie came from modest roots. In American society at the turn of the century, however, it is money that ultimately makes the man. As a result, both characters spend their lives working their way into this mold, even at the cost of compromising themselves. Within the book An American Tragedy, a poor boy is working his way up to become known. In his society, a name is known for the amount of money its holder makes. His actions in and

The Feminist Movement

1084 words - 4 pages lived their lives as second class citizens, never being able to contend with the struggles of being a woman born into a “man’s world”. Women have slowly but surely broken the barriers and glass ceilings setup to keep them down. The idea that women are not as strong mentally and physically was replaced with the idea that women might even be stronger in some instances. The feminist movement has been a movement of evolution, but still seems to be a

Transnational Postcolonial Feminist Theorizing

2355 words - 9 pages located between the extreme of "theory," represented by First World feminist academic privilege, and the extreme of "practice," represented by Third World populations of women working against subordination and oppression.Some topical examples illustrate these extremes. Processes of globalization are a central focus of attention and are analyzed through various frames and themes. Some theorists would critique representations of globalization in

Audre Lorde

1267 words - 6 pages Audre Lorde's conference took place in 1979 in a university in New York, America. She talked about difference, differences between women in American society she discussed differences in race to the differences in the class of a woman she talked about how these differences and others affect feminist theory. She also articulates that there is a problem that needs to be dealt with. Lorde a black, lesbian radical feminist believes that feminist

The change in society

2486 words - 10 pages determine and define one’s self. I believe women can balance between work and being a mother. Every mother can work hard to be in the labor force and still be a mother. If a woman is a mother it does not mean that she needs to lose her identity as a working individual and just sit home and raise her children. Women can balance between both being a mother and work. Women can continue in their career and be a great working mother. This is feminist

Similar Essays

Feminist Ideals In Woman On The Edge Of Time

783 words - 3 pages Feminist Ideals in Woman on the Edge of Time   Marge Piercy's Woman on the Edge of Time is a dichotomy of two worlds: one utopic and one distopic. Although the world of the future is utopic in many senses, e.g. Marxist, environmentalist, etc., Piercy seems to especially focus on feminist issues. The two main characters, Connie and Luciente, are both women, and are both products of their respective societies. It is through these two

American Careers In The Terkel's Working

1014 words - 4 pages people. Throughout the book Working, by Studs Terkel, we meet many diverse groups of people to discover the people behind the jobs that allows American society to operate and how their choice of a career path has changed their lives. Here is "Mike Lefervre" , a 37-year-old steel worker. Lefervre talks down on intellectuals, and complains that they degrade people who actually work. A moment later, however, he contradicts and degrades himself: "A

Is The American Prison System Working?

1663 words - 7 pages With over three million citizens in American prisons it is important for the prison system to be working at the highest and most efficient standard. Many believe that because criminals are being locked behind bars the prisons are in proper order, but the truth is that the prison system in the United States is far from being “up to par.” The goals for prisons are “retribution, incapacitation, deterrence, and rehabilitation”, but prisons in

"The Lady Of Shalott" By William Holman Hunt: Fallen Woman To Feminist

2769 words - 11 pages much like Victorian women were at the end of the nineteenth century.Taking into consideration the frustration of The Lady of Shalott and how she can be perceived as a feminist instead of a fallen woman, the Victorian women were likewise seeing mere reflections of the outside world as told by their husbands. Needless to say, they, too, were growing "half-sick of shadows" (Tennyson, part 2, verse 4). Especially in the magazine, Punch, women began